After proposition 37 failed to gather enough votes for passage, it is encouraging to find that major retailers such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are taking a stand to not carry genetically engineered (GE) Salmon in their stores. On Wednesday, it was announced that Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Marsh Supermarkets, and PCC Natural Markets have all agreed to support the GE-Free Seafood campaign by committing to not sell any genetically modified seafood in their stores.
The US Food and Drug Administration announced in December 2012 that it was in its final environmental assessment on a salmon that has been genetically engineered AquaBounty Technologies Inc. This would mean that if approved, consumers would not know that they are in fact eating a genetically engineered animal. Research is still ongoing to determine the safety of genetically modified foods, and there are many arguments for and against making such food available for consumption. Consumers in the United States are especially disadvantaged against making a decision to not consume such items since there aren’t any laws requiring the labeling of foods as Genetically Modified or Genetically Engineered. There are numerous countries that require labeling of GE and GMO foods. In Australia, Genetically Modified foods, must be labelled with the words ‘genetically modified’. This includes ingredients, additives, or processing aids that contain novel DNA or protein. Similarly, other countries where regulations are in place that require mandatory labeling include European Union countries, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, New Zealand, Brazil, Thailand, and Indonesia to name a few.
Since proposition 37 wasn’t successful in its bid to require the labeling of GE foods in California, contacting your retailers to request that they either do not carry GE foods or require that foods containing GMO or that are genetically engineered by labeled accordingly would be a great way to ensure that one has the information to make informed purchases. Get involved and sign the petition to call on your grocery store to join in the campaign for GE-Free Seafood.